Book Stores

Imagine There's No Bookstore

"Unless a miracle happens, we'll close at the end of June," Judy Christenson, co-owner with daughter Jen of Imagine That! Children's Bookstore , Riverside, CA told the Business Press. They have owned the bookshop since 2003, when they purchased it from Karen Rosenburg, who had run it since the mid-1970s.

"Times have really changed," Judy added. "When Karen started 30 years ago, there was nothing like it and there was no Internet and no big chains. Today we don't have the school business anymore because of the budget cuts and we can't make it on just walk-by traffic sales anymore."

"The concept of pleasure learning and reading isn't there anymore," said Jen. "These days, parents will buy their kids a $3.99 drink at a coffee shop but pass up a $3.99 book. It's truly a sad commentary on our society today. . . . We love books. If we won the lottery, we'd keep the store open just as a hobby."

More Potential Bad News for Amazon.com...

...in the Lone Star state?

Taking a tip from the Empire State, here's a report that The State of Texas Comptroller's Office is currently investigating whether the presence of an Amazon.com-run distribution facility in the Dallas suburb of Irving means the online retailing giant has a physical presence in the state. If the Comptroller's Office determines that Amazon.com does have nexus, the retailer would be responsible for collecting and remitting sales tax for purchases made by Texas residents and potentially would be liable for back taxes.

Amazon.com's website notes that it runs fulfillment facilities in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Texas, Nevada, Delaware, Arizona, and Indiana. The company lists customer service centers in North Dakota, West Virginia, and Washington. At present, Amazon only collects sales tax in Kansas, Kentucky, North Dakota, and Washington. Delaware does not charge sales tax.

Bookweb, a publication of the American Booksellers Association has the story.

As Books Fill Dumps, Publishers Target Return Policy

Bloomberg.com Takes A Look At Robert Miller and his vowed to revolutionary idea to target the practice that allows booksellers to send unsold copies back to publishers for credit. ``In this age of global warming it's insane to be shipping books back and forth across the country for no good reason,'' said Margo Baldwin, president of Chelsea Green Publishing Co. of White River Junction, Vermont. ``It's just a waste of energy and, not only that, it still encourages the overproduction of books -- many of which end up in landfills.''

Amazon Sues New York State

PW reports: They said they would and now they have.

Amazon has filed suit in New York challenging the constitutionality of the state’s newly signed measure requiring out-of-state online retailers to collect sales tax on purchases made by residents of the state. The company maintains that because it has no physical presence in the state it has no nexus requiring it to collect tax. The New York statute says that members of Amazon’s affiliates program does in fact provide nexus. News of the suit first appeared in this morning’s Shelf Awareness.

Interview with Larry McMurtry, a "Bibliophile Par Excellence"

Larry McMurtry will receive the Los Angeles Public Library Literary Award this week because he is a “bibliophile par excellence.” That’s how City Librarian Fontayne Holmes describes the novelist, essayist and screenwriter. “He really is such a book person in every single meaning of the word, as a bookstore owner, as a book collector, as a writer and as an incredible reader of literature,” she said.

McMurtry, who has published 41 books, is known for depicting an un-idealized vision of the Old West and his native Texas. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1985 novel Lonesome Dove, which became a television mini-series starring Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones and Danny Glover in 1989.

His store, Booked Up, is in Archer City, TX.

World's Largest Bookstore Doing Great

Having just commented on a story about a local bookstore and how important it is to buy local, here's the news from Amazon.com; it's good news for the mega book retailer:

Sales in the first quarter ended March 31, net sales at Amazon.com rose 37% to $4.13 billion, and net income rose 30% to $143 million. The company attributed the gains to low prices, improved inventory and increased affiliate sales.

Among other highlights reported by Shelf Awareness:

Amazon continued to be mum about Kindle unit sales, saying only that "Kindle selection continues to grow--with more than 115,000 titles now available, up from 90,000 at launch."
The company launched Amazon TextBuyIt, a service that lets customers use text messages to find and buy products sold on Amazon, allowing customers to shop, compare prices and buy from any mobile device.
Sales at Amazon's U.S. and Canadian sites were $2.13 billion, up 31% from the same period a year earlier.

Sales of what Amazon calls "worldwide media"--which includes books, music and movies--grew 28% to $2.54 billion, slightly more than half of all sales.

Little Gay Bookstore That Fought Big Battle Is for Sale

A little gay bookstore in Vancouver that made a big impact on Canadian censorship is going up for sale.

After more than 23 years of fighting back against homophobia of all kinds--from the anti-gay violence of censorship laws to bombs lobbed into their building--the owners of Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium, Jim Deva and Bruce Smyth, are looking for new owners to continue the shop.

Major Christian Publisher Feels the Economic Pinch

Thomas Nelson has let go some 10% of its work force, about 60 people, and plans to publish just half of the number of titles it published last year--350 instead of 700--according to the Tennessean .

The Tennessean added: "Publishers of Christian and general interest books are reducing their number of titles as sales are being more concentrated in fewer, best-selling books, industry observers said. There is also more competition for shelf space as some retailers reduce the number of books in stores to counter a spike in sales online and elsewhere.

Publishers Beware: Amazon has you in their sights

Jessamyn points to an interesting Post Over At Tim O'Reilly's Place on Amazon's big plans. Tim says that Amazon has serious plans for vertical integration of the publishing industry. Having got retailers on the ropes, they now are aiming at publishers. "Amazon has, so far, created huge value for the publishing ecosystem. Now, as they become more powerful, they need to be especially watchful that they don't irreparably damage an industry on which they too depend.

Jessamyn Adds: "How do libraries fit into this model? We’re frequently told that we’ve got crazy buying power in the aggregate but what happens when we’re not even given the option to see these books brought to market?"

More on the Amazon/Booksurge Issue

As previously reported here on LISNews last month , Amazon is continuing to insist that all Print On Demand books to be sold on their site, Amazon.com, be printed by their own subsidiary, BookSurge.

Sound monopolistic? Is it. Here's a statement from aother POD company, Author Solutions; here's more on Amazon's decision in Publishers Weekly.

To get an idea of the number of POD publishers Amazon's decision will be cutting out, check out John Kremer's Bookmarket list of POD publishers. These people are trying to make a living too.

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